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First off today, Luke Henriques-Gomes at The Guardian reports that the Australian government has introduced new legislation that would expand the country’s site blocking initiative to possibly include search engines, forcing them to remove or demote allegedly infringing websites.
Under the current law in the country, rightsholders can petition the courts to order local ISPs to block access to websites that exist for the primary purpose of copyright infringement. However, Many rightsholders feel that it is inadequate as pirate sites are able to trivially get around such blocks with mirror versions of their site.
According to the government, Google, Yahoo and other search engines support this process by making it easy for users to find either mirror websites or new pirate sites. As a result, they are proposing new legislation that will require search engines to demote or remove such websites, reducing their presence online and improving the strength of the blockades.
2: Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Copyright Infringement Claims as Time-Barred and Based on Non-Credible Testimony
Next up today, Steve Brachmann at IPWatchdog reports that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling that saw a copyright case be dismissed due to a combination of the age of the claim and the unreliability of the witness.
The case pits American Music Co. (LAMCO) against radio station owner Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS). According to LAMCO, SBS played several of the songs they license on their radio stations even though the license had expired. LAMCO brought forth one witness, their president Luis Raul Bernard who testified that he had heard their songs on SBS radio.
However, the defense was able to point out discrepancies between Bernard’s testimony and his previous affidavits and that Bernard couldn’t provide basic details about the songs. Coupled with a dispute over just who owned the songs in question, the lower court, in a bench trial, ruled for the defendants and that decision has now been upheld on appeal.
Finally today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that a filmmaker is asking that a court allow his copyright infringement lawsuit move forward even though one of the plaintiffs is in the middle of chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The lawsuit pits Utah-based indie filmmaker Richard Dutcher against Open Road, NBCUniversal and others. The dispute is over the film Nightcrawler, which Dutcher claims is a copyright infringement of his 2007 film Falling. According to Dutcher, both films feature themes of a man listening to police scanners to get photos and videos of crime scenes to sell, only to videotape a murder in progress.
Dutcher claims that he was planning on recasting and reshooting his film for a mass market but the release of Nightcrawler prohibited that. However, when Open Road declared bankruptcy, the case was automatically stayed. However, now Dutcher is asking the court to lift that stay saying that they are seeking payment from the Open Road’s insurance carrier, not Open Road directly, and that the case should be allowed to move forward.